Samirutu Abdul Karim

2010 Windham High School,  
$2,500 Northeast Bank Mainely Character Scholarship

In 2006, Samirutu as living with her grandmother in Ghana with 20  other relatives and friends in a small home her grandfather built. Her grandmother was a guiding force in her life, stressing the importance of an education despite having little or none herself. At a time when other young women were getting married and having children, Samirutu was determined to go to America to join her father and get an education.

As a freshman at Windham High School,  Samirutu faced the challenges of adapting to a new culture, including learning English.  She became a top student through hard work, while overcoming obstacles with ease. For example, to complete the final English course required for graduation, she selected an online Advanced Placement course despite having no computer at home. Samirutu completed all classes after hours either at school or in the library.

While Samaruti  assimilated to American culture, she retained important customs of her native country.  Her father was worried she would lose her respect for elders – he needn’t have. While Samara developed friendships, she  refused to bow to peer pressure. When Samara arrived she met and became close friends with a neighbor. That neighbor eventually developed MS and Samara now fundraises for MS events.

Samaritu was also a volunteer at Mercy Hospital.  Her bright and electric personality made her a favorite among patients.  Some reminded her about the importance of education – they needn’t have worried; Samara’s goal was to be a doctor and meld traditional and nontraditional therapies.

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